Imagine chocolate without cocoa.
Imagine salt without, well, salt.
Peruse the grocery aisles long enough and you’ll quickly recognize American’s love-hate relationship with salt. Crackers, potato chips, pretzels, even cottage cheese is loaded with the stuff. We’ve become so saturated with salt, “low-sodium” has become the latest buzz word.
In our culture, salt has become so prevalent, it can be hard to understand why Jesus talked so much about its importance, but in Bible times, salt played a crucial role. It added flavor, preserved food and was even used medicinally. Salt was so important, in fact, it was often used as money.
Salt was a big deal.
When Jesus talks about His followers being the salt of the earth, He is telling us to add flavor to our surroundings and preserve what is good in our culture. (IMHO)
As a tortilla-chip lover, I understand this analogy. I can visualize flavor-producing “salt” pouring from my Spirit-filled being, but what I couldn’t understand for the longest time was how to keep my salt from losing it’s saltiness, something Jesus warns us about in Mathew 5:13.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”
I know salt. I’ve been using salt, in one way or another, for–oh, do I really want to age myself? Let’s just say, for a long time. I’ve dissolved it, re-crystalized it, looked at it under a microscope, and tasted. The flavor didn’t change.
Which was good, because flavorless salt would be bland, ineffective and basically worthless.
The same is true of a flavorless Christian.
I certainly don’t want to be bland, but how in the world can I keep my witness salty?
To understand Jesus’ analogy in Matthew, we need to understand ancient salt cultivation. Most of the salt used in Israel came from the Dead Sea and was full of impurities. These impurities caused the salt to lose some of its flavor.
Is it easier to see how it might apply to my spiritual walk now? Just as impurities weaken salt’s flavor, impurities in our lives, known as sin, weaken our witness for Christ. We talk about the love of God in one breath, and in the next, gossip about our neighbor. We share how great life is with Christ then complain about our jobs or the housework, or chasing after energetic two year olds. We say God is loving and in control then openly and loudly fret about our finances. We talk about the power of the Holy Spirit then allow our emotions to control us.
All this must be very confusing to the non-Christian world.
For me, my greatest impurity is selfishness. My selfishness weakens my witness, mutes my “flavor” and, when left unchecked, reduces my words, no matter how heart-felt, to flavorless powder.
And it’s time I’m diligent with my flavor-preservation.
Today, as a first step effort, I’m going to focus on the needs of others by asking them for specific ways I can help or serve them. Waiting for them to come to me is too easy.
Wanna join me? What is your greatest “impurity” and what are some steps you can take to purge that sin from your salt?
Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Slattery/e/B00JKQ4ZTW/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here: http://wordsthatkeep.wordpress.com/
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.
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Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.
Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.
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